As always while traveling there is so much time for contemplation, and so little stopping time for writing. I spent last week at the Emma Lake Artist Collaborative in the boreal forest in Saskatchewan Canada; Emma is a gathering of one hundred artists from Canada, New Zealand, Australia, England and the United States. The goal for the week is to work together and create pieces of art in ways you, as an individual might not always work. There are printmakers, fiber artists, woodworkers, painters, big and little metal workers, clay artists, stone carvers and more. We even had a physiatrist from Toronto observing us all week (he might need analysis when he gets back). It was an exciting fun week. I worked with a variety of people creating about six pieces. I should mention that this year Emma was unplugged, so all work was done with hand tools the old fashioned way. Some people stretched the meaning of unplugged to some battery-operated tools but that was between each artist and her/his personal higher power. Collaboration is an interesting process. Sometimes the piece starts and someone comes along and says what if… And then they take over. Sometimes you travel across the field to a specialist (like the artist Cassie) with the trestle sewing machine and she does a stitch or two for you and you continue on. This kind of emersion is powerful, it is one of the few times in an artist life when there is no question of the importance of what you are making, each piece, each material each thought is accepted and encouraged. I met lots of people and learned about a variety of material. Trent taught me to strip birch bark from the tree, I made Martini glasses with him and then a bark book with Harvey. The book is a perfect example, I stripped the bark (with Kim’s help) and then cut rectangles of the most beautiful bark patterns, Cassie helped me sew them together and made a suggestion about the lay out, I went back to my bench and scratched my head as to how I would bind these bark pages, Harvey was looking across the table and made a suggestion, together we made it happen, (After a few mock ups). This is the beauty of collaboration you go to a place you would never get to as an individual sitting alone in your own studio. The environment around us was beautiful when you stepped away for a hike or a break. All the work had to be completed by the sixth day and then it was auctioned off in four different ways. A silent, and live auction at Emma, and a silent and live auction in Saskatoon, both were exciting but the antics at the Emma live auction followed by a dance was the most fun. My friend Kimberley Winkle and I left Saskatoon and are on an adventure in North and South Dakota. More to come!
Here are some pictures from Emma –